Since the inception of the Town Haul Podcast, Rubicon® has had the honor and privilege to record content with some of the biggest brands and industry influencers in the world of environmental sustainability.
To celebrate Earth Day 2021, we have compiled a list of 21 powerful quotes straight from the mouths of the experts to help educate and inspire both businesses and individuals to take a look at their behaviors and implement some crucial changes to help better our planet.
On Establishing the Problems Plaguing Our Earth
“It is a really bad math equation to have an exponentially increasing human population that tends to use and use and use without putting things back into the system to reuse.” — Mitch Hedlund, Founder and Executive Director, Recycle Across America
“In the U.S. we use 500 million single-use plastic straws every single day, which really freaks me out because that comes down to 1.6 straws/person/day.” — Miles Pepper, Inventor and Co-Founder, Final Straw
“We need to collect 10,000 tons of refuse and 2,000 tons of recycling every day, and that in and of itself is a logistical challenge.” — Kathryn Garcia, Former New York City Sanitation Commissioner
“Over 21 billion pounds of textile waste were put in our landfills… it’s estimated that 95 percent of textiles that end up in landfills could be recycled or upcycled or reused. So it’s a staggering market failure and also a huge amount of waste that’s being displaced in our environment.” — Daniel Silverstein, Creator and Designer, Zero Waste Daniel
“On average 40 percent of all the food in America goes to waste, which is insane because if food waste were a country it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gas behind the U.S. and China.” — Kathryn Kellogg, Author and Zero Waste Blogger
“When plastics get into the ocean it gets into the food chain and ultimately to our dinner plates… if you’re a seafood eater you’re eating hundreds of bits of plastics annually.” — Brian Linton, Founder and CEO, United by Blue
On Sustainability Tips and Tricks for Businesses
“The first place to start would be to look at all of the input; the material infixed in your business and all the goods that you’re purchasing and look at where you see waste? Where do you see waste in how they’re packaged and the cartons that you receive and where they’re going at the end of their life? And just asking yourself if there are alternatives? And because of the growth of sustainable products and services, your distributor likely is carrying some alternatives and then once you have those more sustainable products, I would look at what the disposable options are for you. If your hauler is only currently providing you with a trash can or recycling can, ask them about compost. Is composting a service that they offer? If they don’t offer it, why or why not? Maybe it’s just because there hasn’t been a demand from customers like you for that type of service and that may be something that they could do or would do if they knew that there would be that demand there. If you don’t ask, you’re not going to know.” — Annie Davis, Director of Business Development, World Centric
“Don’t put your trash in one corner and recycling in another. Recycling, trash, and compost bins all need to be very close to each other with standardized labels. Don’t put your recycling in plastic bags and put it in the recycling dumpster—plastic bags are a deal-breaker for most haulers and recycling facilities, so empty your recycling into the recycling dumpster and then recycle your plastic bag or re-use it. Pay attention to what you are purchasing. Look for good packaging that is recyclable and look for volume packaging versus lots of small packaging. Avoid lots of over packaging if you can.” — Mitch Hedlund, Founder and Executive Director, Recycle Across America
“Some of the strategies you use in your home you can use in the office. Things like lighting; lighting is a very easy way to reduce costs and also have better quality light. LEDs are much more cost-effective. Or even daylight—people operate better, have better cognitive function when we can see outside. Talk with your office leadership about healthy food options and composting. Office recycling is really important and fairly easy to do.” — Andrea Pinabell, Southface Energy Institute
“Measurement is key… you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Get your hands dirty, get in there, get out. You’re going to see where the true waste is and it gives you a better appreciation and a better direction on going back upstream to be able to reduce waste in the first place.” — Jason Wadsworth, Manager of Sustainability, Wegmans
“How can businesses make change? It’s important to really look at and find trusting partners they can work with within their communities and issue areas and start to build relationships with organizations that are providing solutions to these tough problems. Business owners need to be creative about how they can provide additional platforms and resources to these organizations to implement these solutions.” — Justin Winters, Executive Director, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation
“All of the things that I have done as a marketer and as a business leader around innovation I had never really spent much time thinking about what happened at the end-of-life of these products and what are the unintended consequences. It made me think really deeply about the things that I put out there in this world. It’s time for me to do something to make the world a more sustainable and better place. Business can and should be and must be a force for good.” — Joey Bergstein, Seventh Generation
On the Zero Waste Journey
“The simple definition is sending nothing to the landfill, the more complex definition that I personally really like is to completely write waste out of existence. And that’s because we can waste so much more than what we put in the trash can. We really have to look at more holistic solutions and think a little bigger and a little broader.” — Kathryn Kellogg, Author and Zero Waste Blogger
“For something to be truly zero-waste, it can’t just be designed for that impact, it has to be connected to an infrastructure and a system where it can be kept out of the landfill.” — Annie Davis, Director of Business Development, World Centric
“Every decision a consumer makes every day is really how we have to think about getting to zero waste. The more that people choose not to get a water bottle and use a reusable water bottle and use a reusable bag, that is all part of the program.” — Kathryn Garcia, Former New York City Sanitation Commissioner
“I encourage the people I work with, at least during the business hours that they’re at work, to experiment with zero waste. Can you bring a reusable lunch container, can you bring your own fork and knife?” — Daniel Silverstein, Creator and Designer, Zero Waste Daniel
“Everything we throw away costs us something. The average American throws out about $2,000 worth of food every year. Paper towels are like literally paying for trash! Zero Waste living also saves a lot of money because we’re no longer paying for these items.” — Kathryn Kellogg, Author and Zero Waste Blogger
“Preparedness is key. I have a little essentials kit of things that I take with me every day, like reusable utensils, a cloth napkin that doubles as a hanky, a jar or a tin for leftovers or to compost on the go, a reusable water bottle and an emergency tote bag because you never know when you want to pick something up. This fits in a small 10×5 cosmetic bag that is really easy to pop in a backpack or a purse or to keep in your car. It ensures that at all times I have my basics covered and helps avoid single-use plastics and creating waste. It’s as easy as a phone, wallet, keys, essentials.” — Daniel Silverstein, Creator and Designer, Zero Waste Daniel
“People say to vote with your dollar; everything you buy has a ripple effect to the economy… Every time you buy a misshapen apple over that perfect shiny, waxy red delicious, somebody is feeling that and eventually we’ll be able to account for all that money being spent, and maybe Forbes will write about it and that’s how these things spread through the community.” — Alison Mountford, Ends and Stems
“There really is sort of something within a lot of campaigning work that says, ‘Great. We just got you excited about the environment. Take it in, meditate on it every day. This is what you can purchase to be a part of this. And guess what? You don’t have to actually radically change your life to continue living sustainably’.” — Emma Riley, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Lonely Whale
“When you’re in the grocery store don’t go around pulling things hap- hazardly off the shelf just because it spoke to you in that moment. If you don’t have a plan for everything you buy, especially perishable items, then those are the ones that you’re going to end up throwing out a few weeks later.” — Alison Mountford, Ends and Stems
Listen to more episodes of the Town Haul Podcast.
Amy Koonin Taylor is Marketing Content and Media Manager at Rubicon. To stay ahead of Rubicon’s announcements of new partnerships and collaborations around the world, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, or contact us today.